With numerous supplements on the market, it’s hard to know what ones work. Most online information targets strength athletes, with little information available on how endurance athletes can benefit. This blog will outline 5 useful supplements for runners and endurance athletes. There are supplements to optimise your recovery, improve your performance, and maintain your immunity. Whatever your chosen sport, goals or training regime there is a supplement to benefit you.
Protein powder for endurance athletes
Protein powder supplements are not just for strength athletes or body builders. 10-20% of endurance athletes don’t meet their daily protein requirements. Protein provides the amino acids that fuel recovery and repair. Not eating enough protein may result in increased injury risk.
Recreational endurance athletes require at least 1.65 g protein per kg of body per day. This intake optimises recovery and reduces chance of injury. Protein requirements are even higher in trail runners due to the extra wear and tear put on muscles and joints due to steep ascents, decents, and the uneven nature of the ground.
Protein is found in fresh foods including meat, dairy, legumes and lentils. However, endurance training requires a huge amount of time commitment. If you are juggling training around work and family, you may put nutrition on the back-burner. This is why a high quality pure protein supplement can benefit you.
Whey protein isolate (WPI) for endurance athletes
VPA WPI is a pure whey protein powder that providing 27g of protein per serve. It contains a high level of the amino acid leucine which triggers muscle repair. You can mix WPI with foods including oats and yoghurt. You can also mix it with water or with milk and drink it as a simple shake. Take WPI within an hour of finishing training or racing to optimise recovery.
Beetroot powder for endurance athletes
Beetroot powder is one of the newest products to hit the supplement scene. It is so effective that it was quickly elevated by the AIS to a Group A supplement. Beetroot powder is a potent nitrate supplement. Nitrate supplements work by dilating and relaxing our blood vessels. This increases the rate at which nutrient and oxygen rich blood reach our muscles. As a result, the oxygen cost of exercise is decreased and our athletic performance improves.
Beetroot powder increases the time to exhaustion by as much as 15%. It also increases your speed over set distances, meaning it will help you decrease your race time. In other words, beetroot powder will help you get that PB.
To benefit from beetroot supplements you need at least 500mg of nitrate. To obtain this from beetroots or fresh juice would require the consumption of a LOT of beetroot. Powdered supplements are useful as they contain a full dose, with little preparation. One serve of VPA Beet-500 will conveniently provide 500mg of nitrate in one small serve.
To reap the benefits of beetroot, take one serve of VPA Beet-500 around 45 minutes before you train or compete.
Caffeine supplements for endurance athletes
Caffeine is another AIS Group A supplement, which benefits endurance performance. Taking caffeine decreases your rate of perceived effort. This means exercise ‘feels’ easier and as a result, you perform better. You can take caffeine before or during training or competition. Caffeine is taken as a pill, as coffee (everyone’s favourite!) or within a supplement like a gel or pre-workout. For the serious athlete, caffeine should be taken as a supplement rather than from coffee. This is because the caffeine content of coffee varies and you don’t know what dose of caffeine you will be taking.
VPA’s Pre-30 and Kleos pre-workouts contain caffeine. One serve of Kleos contains the caffeine equivalent of four espresso shots. Along with it’s other proven ingredients Kleos will provide the caffeine boost and performance improvement you are seeking. Take pre-workout about 20 minutes before you train or compete for optimal results.
Sports gels for endurance athletes
Sports gels are essential for serious endurance athletes and another Group A supplement. Gels are the most well known supplement for endurance athletes. Sports gels are a convenient and concentrated source of carbohydrate. Our guts quickly absorb the carbohydate in gels to use as energy. They improve the performance of endurance athletes in two ways. Firstly they provide fuel for muscles. During high intensity exercise, carbohydrate maintains speed prevents fatigue and exhaustion. Secondly, carbohydrate has an impact on our central nervous system and leads to the more rapid use of carbohydrate for energy.
Sports gels should be taken during prolonged exercise like running, cycling or triathlon. For optimum performance you should consume one every 45 minutes to an hour.
L-glutamine for endurance athletes
Prolonged endurance exercise increases your likelihood of falling ill. Two things that may contribute to this are low energy availability and depletion of L-glutamine. Glutamine is essential to maintaining gut and immune system health. It is a “conditionally essential” amino acid. This means our need for it increases under certain circumstances, and we may need to supplement during these times. Blood glutamine levels are depleted following prolonged endurance exercise. Taking glutamine after training decreases the risk of falling ill with upper respiratory infections. The optimal dose is 5g.
So there we have it, 5 supplements for runners and endurance athletes that will help improve your performance, recovery and health.